Nearly three dozen people were feared buried under a massive landslide unleashed Tuesday in the Philippines
MANILA: Nearly three dozen people were feared buried under a massive landslide unleashed Tuesday in the Philippines by Typhoon Yutu, which killed four children and a man as it ripped across the disaster-prone nation.
Cutting a path just south of last month’s Typhoon Mangkhut, which killed dozens, the new storm hit the country’s most populous island, sparking multiple deadly landslides and shearing off roofs with its fierce winds.
The people trapped in the Cordillera mountain area of Natonin were buried when a wall of mud slammed into a public works building, regional disaster management chief Ruben Carandang told AFP.
He said up to 31 people were believed inside the structure, but rescuers have not been able to reach the area because landslides have cut off roads.
“It was not an evacuation centre,” he added. “But some sought shelter there unfortunately.”
Search crews were just beginning to assess the damage wrought by the passage of Yutu, which made landfall early Tuesday with sustained winds of 150 kilometres (95 miles) per hour and gusts up to 210.
Authorities have already confirmed a father and three young children were killed in a landslide in Banaue, just south of the buried public works building.
Another landslide killed a 5-year-old girl in a neighbouring province, police said.
“We see some branches on the roads and so on, but it is the flooding that is destroying houses here,” International Federation of the Red Cross spokeswoman Caroline Haga told AFP from Nueva Vizcaya province. “People are needing to be rescued.”
Nearly 10,000 people fled their homes ahead of Yutu’s arrival because they live in low-lying areas susceptible to flooding.
The high winds flattened flimsy homes, tore the roofs off others and downed power poles as well as trees.
Landslides spawned by the storm blocked a major road in the mountainous north, isolating some residents, a civil defence official said.
Still, Philippine disaster officials said the storm was less powerful than Mangkhut, which struck six weeks ago and left more than 100 dead. Most of the fatalities were due to a landslide in the mining area of Itogon.
Authorities near last month’s deadly landslide evacuated at least 1,000 people from the Itogon area as Yutu approached.
An average of 20 typhoons and storms lash the Philippines each year, killing hundreds of people and leaving millions in near-perpetual poverty.
The Philippines’ deadliest storm on record is Super Typhoon Haiyan, which left more than 7,350 people dead or missing across the central Philippines in November 2013.